So, first, I want to give a quick explanation for my non-Catholic friends/readers.
Quick clarification – if you’ve ever thought or heard that Catholic worship the saints, that’s wrong. The saints are people who were/are so holy that they just really kick ass and we’re pretty sure they’ve got some pull with the big guy. Like, really. So when you hear about Catholics praying to the saints, they’re not praying to them in the way one would pray to a legit deity, but more like you would plead with a friend to pray for you or keep you in their thoughts. Saints are pals!
Yeah, that’s a bit simplified, but it’s really all you need.
In the case of choosing a confirmation saint, the idea is to choose someone you’d like to emulate, perhaps someone you connect with for some reason.
From what I’ve gathered, the most common ways of choosing are as follows:
If you really don’t care that much, you can just pick of the popular saints because you already know their name and have a vague idea of who they are.
You can also pick a saint who is “patron” of something that is significant in your life – if you’re going to be a doctor and that’s a huge part of your identity, you might pick Saint Luke. If you’re a musician, perhaps Saint Cecilia.
Another way to do it is to research their biographies, especially the means by which they became a saint. Did they devote a lot of their life to charity? Were they an important theologian? Were they steadfast in their faith during a trying time?
And of course, probably most important, you’re encouraged to pray about your decision.
For better details, from a more reliable source than me, you can go here or just Google this mess.
So I’m going to share the few saints I had narrowed down to, and then I might share who I ended up choosing. Maybe. You might have to earn it. I haven’t decided.
Oh, who am I kidding. Everyone will probably be able to guess anyway. I’m so transparent and predictable. GOSH.
One of the first ones I looked at was St. Irene, as suggested to me by friend Julia (who is what I would call a “professional Catholic”). St. Irene was a martyred virgin, one of three sisters, and she had the most boring name of the three unfortunately. Seriously, her sisters’ names were Agape and Chionia. There’s no competition there. Sorry, Irene.
But the coolest thing about her, and the reason Julia suggested her to me, is that she got in trouble for hiding books! In her time it was illegal to keep Christian books, but Irene and some other people were like, um, too bad. Faith + books = important.
Another saint that I looked into was St. Catherine of Alexandria. By a bit of a stretch, she’s named as one of the patron saints of librarians/libraries. (The main patron saint is a man, which I just find absurd.) (Kidding. About my finding it absurd.) (Kind of.) (Well, I mean, most modern librarians seem to be female. I’M JUST SAYING.)
It makes sense that she would be related to libraries and books though, because her big thing is that she was very learned and knowledgeable thanks to her station in life. She was especially knowledgeable about her faith.
She was also persuasive. At one point this emperor guy sent a bunch of what I’ll call “professional pagans” to dispute with her, and the woman totally ended up converting all of them to Christianity!
Continuing with the whole book theme here, I also looked at St. John of God. He is the patron saint of booksellers.
He’s actually got a pretty hefty bio in that link and is pretty rad for a variety of reasons, but of course my favorite is that it’s said that “Reading gave him so much pleasure that he decided that he should share this joy with others” so he “quit his job and became a book peddler, traveling from town to town selling religious books and holy cards.”
Gosh. I kind of wish I could do that. Just quit everything else and open a bookstore. Maybe some day! I think Emily understands this longing.
Note: I’ve heard different things, but generally in choosing a confirmation saint, one is encouraged to choose a saint that is of the same gender. They don’t HAVE to be though, if you just super really much connect with a saint of the opposite gender.
Then, as a bit of a departure from the book thing, I looked into St. Margaret of Clitherow.
Now, she’s neat because first, she grew up with Protestant parents and became Catholic later. Hey! That sounds familiar!
Anyway, I keep seeing the word “zeal” associated with her. She had super strong faith. She harbored fugitive priests! (How cool is that by the way? That’s pretty badass to be both a priest AND a fugitive. It’s like being a cleric AND a thief when you play Munchkin!) (I’ve totally been both a cleric and a thief.) (Munchkin is a super fun game that you should play if you never have before. You’re missing out.)
Many efforts were made to made her deny her faith, but she always stood firm, to the very end, even in being condemned to death for it.
Some others that I briefly looked at:
St. Martha – Yes, this is the Martha from the Bible, from the Gospels. I love her just because of her humanity, and her willingness to serve.
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity – These ladies stick out to me because I actually read of them back in my medieval literature class. Their story is pretty neat too.
St. Monica – The aforementioned pro Catholic Julia enlightened me about St. Monica way back before I was researching for a confirmation saint. I love her for keeping up hope and persistence in a seemingly futile situation.
St. Hyacinth – This one… just kills me. If I could find more legit information on her, she’d be much higher up in the running. Seriously, just… just read this: “Franciscan tertiary who was placed in a monastic life because of her troublesome nature. Born in Viterbo, Italy, she was so scandalous that she was forced to become a religious. She rebelled there as well, but after twenty four years, she became a model tertiary.”
C’mon. You can’t tell me that’s not HILARIOUS. Well, you can, but I won’t agree!
Any guesses as to who you think I chose?
I have chosen St. Catherine of Alexandria! The book thing is just super close to my heart, but with her it’s a step further – I love the idea of constantly seeking knowledge and questioning things. I hope to be like that, to always be like that. And I do want to be a librarian some day. Plus, her feast day is November 25th, which is two days before my birthday, so it’s super easy to remember! I was really stuck on St. John of God for awhile though honestly, but I just felt better choosing a female saint.